Our Bath IT Pack event explored the secrets to success and skill-building

The current soft market will probably continue for the foreseeable future, according to Jelf Lampier national sales director, property, Nigel Richardson.

Speaking at the recent Insurance Times and Aviva IT Pack event in Bath, Richardson said that a hard market could not return while brokers keep undercutting their rivals and insurers keep dropping rates. “I have stopped dreaming about the time when I can renew my cases and increase all my business by 10%,” he said.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen again. If it does, fantastic, but I don’t think you can operate thinking the market is going to harden. I think we’re in a soft market for a long time.”

Staying strong

Starting up a broker is harder now, but not impossible, Richardson added. “You need to be very careful, otherwise you’re going to fall down. Some of these consolidators are powerful people, and you need to make sure you’ve done your research before you go into business.”

Proving compliance was another of the main challenges for brokers today, Richardson said. “You cannot fight it, you have to go with it.”

Some brokers are behind with proving compliance, he added.

“You need to really do your work on the Bribery Act as well, because that’s going to impact massively on insurance in the next few years.”

Young brokers could have several advantages over the older members of the team, according to Aviva head of trading west and south WalesPaul Charlton. “You’re bringing experience that some older colleagues may not have – for example, up-to-date knowledge of the education system. You’ll bring insight and experience, but of a different type.”

Nurture your staff

Staff are a company’s greatest asset, said Aviva senior sales development consultant (learning & development design and delivery) John Nutter.

And staff training is crucial. Seventy per cent of how a person learns to work is picked up on the job, 20% is through coaching and asking questions, and 10% is through workshops, courses and training, Nutter said. “Successful organisations have open minds: they use the skills and resources around them.”

British Olympic bronze medallist Tasha Danvers said it was important to surround yourself with people that provide the right support. “It’s lovely to have your own goals, but sometimes people are too proud to ask for help,” she said. “Embrace help, form a team of people around you, and find people who understand and appreciate your goals.”